Astrology makes meaning from the the cycle of the cosmos, which means much of 2023 can be predicted. The sun will move through all 12 zodiac signs, from Aries to Pisces, the moon will go through its phases — and we're going to have to deal with Mercury retrograde again.
2023 will have four Mercury retrogrades. This planetary transit is known for causing communication issues, travel mishaps and technology breakdowns.
Read on for a breakdown of what to expect from Mercury retrograde and a calendar for 2023's Mercury retrograde dates.
Remind me: What is Mercury retrograde?
Retrograde comes from the Latin word for "retrogradus," or "backward step." During retrograde periods, planets appear to move "backwards."
We say appear, however, because this is an optical illusion. Mercury normally moves faster than the Earth around the sun, taking 88 days to complete an orbit whereas the Earth takes 365.
During retrograde periods, Mercury slows down. And as the blue planet overtakes Mercury, Mercury seems to be moving backwards. In fact, Earth is just moving faster than usual.
What happens during Mercury retrograde?
Within astrology, retrogrades are said to slow down or dampen the realm that each planet governs. Mercury is the communication and travel planet, making those the hotspots for mishaps. We're talking temper tantrums, gossip, unsaved computer files, texts sent to the wrong person, missing luggage, flight delays and beyong.
When will Mercury be retrograde in 2023?
- Dec 29, 2022 to Jan. 18, 2023 in the earth sign Capricorn.
- April 21 to May 14 in the earth sign Taurus
- Aug. 23 to Sept. 15 in the earth sign Virgo.
- Dec. 13 to Jan. 1, 2024 in the earth sign Capricorn and fire sign Sagittarius.
Here's how to prepare for Mercury retrogrades of 2023
Here are a few astrologer-approved tips.
- Back up all your computer files and emails.
- Meditate to remain calm.
- Keep an obsidian stone by your electronically devices to block out negativity from arriving via text or email.
- Drink lots of citrus (lemons are the essence of Mercury) to avoid miscommunications on your end.
- Plan ahead for extra travel time
- Finally, have patience. The retrograde will be over soon!
What is Mercury retroshade?
Think of it as the lead-up and aftermath to Mercury retrograde. The pre-retrograde zone is when Mercury begins to slow down and twinges of retrograde begin. The post-retroshade zone occurs after Mercury retrograde, and is it’s our third time dealing with the situation and different aspects are being brought to light.
Here's what to expect from the Mercury retrogrades of 2023
January 2023's Mercury retrograde
2023 starts off while Mercury is retrograde (which began on Dec. 29). It will be hard to jumpstart projects or to get our resolutions moving in full gear until the retrograde ends on Jan. 18.
In light of Mercury retrograde, consider making New Year's Eve plans that are close to home. If you're traveling, give yourself some cushion to get there in time. When in doubt, plan a casual New Year's Eve in with family and friends.
Further, hold onto the gift receipts from the present you received over the holidays — you may change your mind and want to exchange them for something else.
April 2023's Mercury retrograde
The year's second retrograde that occurs from April 21 to May 14 in the earth sign Taurus. At this time, we will be asked to reevaluate our finances and spending habits. Money comes and money goes, which is why the lesson we are learning is how to implement and manage budgets.
The same can be applied to our love lives or relationships with friends and family members. After giving to others, it could be time for us to hold back and see if the sentiments are reciprocated to us before extending ourselves further. Boundaries will need to be defined during this planetary backspin.
August 2023's Mercury retrograde
This summer’s Mercurial backspin occurs from Aug. 23 to Sept. 15 in Virgo. When Mercury is retrograde in Virgo, anxieties can flare up as well as the desire to be alone.
The trickster planet will make us feel as though the weight of the world is on our shoulders because the mutable sign Virgo is latching onto the emotions of others. We may feel things that aren’t true or about us. Energy is contagious — so it’s important to protect yours at this time by consciously deciding who and what you want to engage with.
December 2023's Mercury retrograde
From Dec. 13 to Jan. 1, 2024, Mercury will glide from Capricorn back into Sagittarius (Mercury will re-enter Sagittarius on Dec. 23).
This planetary moonwalk may put a damper on holiday travel plans. When Mercury backs up into adventurous Sagittarius, you may experience unexpected detours (think the classic holiday movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles").
The best way to handle this retrograde is to plan for it — give yourself time to deal with traffic, flight delays, and missed connections. Most importantly: Don’t stress!
Setting plans and intentions for the new year could be challenging too, which is why it’s best to go with the flow and see where the evening and your heart takes you. Pack for every occasion because you may experience something even your wildest dreams couldn’t predict.